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Melodious styles of Russia

Welcome to Russia! > Melodious styles of Russia

 Russia has many different styles in music. They range from folk music, to the sacred type in a Russian Orthodox church, and including the work of 19th century classical and romantic composers. In order to get these different types of music, different instruments are used.  


 One type of instrument that is used mainly in Russia is the semistrunka (seven-stringer) guitar. It is also called a Gypsy guitar. It is traditionally played without a pick and uses fingers to strum instead. For many years, the gypsy guitar was far more popular than the regular six-string Spanish guitar; the latter was a rarity in Russia before the revolution of 1917. The Russian guitar gained significant popularity in the later half of the 19th century with the increasing popularity of guitar oriented “city romance” songs.  


 Another type of string instrument is the Balalaika. It is a Russian folk instrument with 3 strings and a triangular shaped body. It can come in many different sizes from the highest-pitched to the lowest, which are the prima balalaika, secunda balalaika, alto balalaika, bass balalaika, and contrabass balalaika. All have three-sided bodies with spruce, evergreen, or fir tops. Their backs are made of three to nine wooden sections. They are typically strung with three strings.
A traditional instrument called the Kalyuka is a Russian and Ukrainian overtone flute that lacks playing holes. They used to be made from hollow plant stems like Motherwort or Angelica. The upper end is open, and although it has a built-in fipple] to produce sound, a player should also partly close the opening of the tube with the tongue. The lower end of the tube is also open and occasionally there is a small side hole near the end. The side hole and/or end are opened and closed while playing to produce different notes. Higher tones are reached through over blowing.